Belfast Telegraph

Leicester City prove you can't value people on money alone

By Alf McCreary

Everyone loves a winner, and none more so than the Leicester City football team who astonished the sporting world by winning the English Premier League at the odds of 5,000 to one.

If anyone doubts that football has now become a religion, they should take note that the Thai owner of Leicester imported several Buddhist monks to establish the right kind of meditation to help secure victory.

If you believe that, you will believe anything. The real reason why Leicester won was the skill, dedication and the mutual loyalty of the cut-price team that cost a total of £32m.

This was less than the price paid by big clubs for some individual star players.

People were delighted to see the underdogs teach some of the overpaid prima donnas a lesson, and it is also great to see the bookmakers having to pay up.

People were also glad for Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, a respected professional who was nevertheless called the Tinkerman when at Chelsea and also the Nearly Man because he had never quite won a major championship until now.

Ranieri also proved that "nice guys" do not finish last. What other football manager would have left England last Monday when his team had not yet clinched the championship to visit Rome where he had lunch with his mother, aged 96? Signor Ranieri clearly has his priorities right.

The success of Leicester proves that you cannot value people on money alone. This point was made in last week's Sunday Times by the Church of England's first female bishop, the Rt Rev Libby Lane.

Bishop Lane, who earns a maximum of £33,000 a year in her senior post, was responding to questions in the paper's Fame and Fortune section, which usually interviews the very well-off people, ranging all the way to the "rotten rich".

Asked when she first felt "wealthy", Bishop Libby replied: "I feel extraordinarily wealthy in all sorts of ways. Even in financial terms, I have extraordinary wealth compared with most people.

"I have more than enough money to be safe, fed, warm, and for my children to be cared for.

"I have books, music, friends, and, at the heart of all that, I have faith. That means that neither my value, nor that of anybody else, is judged by their income or net worth."

What a most refreshing answer in a world where we measure so much in financial terms.

There are constant cutbacks, people lose their jobs, others have to toil as harder to make up for the redundancy of those who have gone, and so many people in the private sector have to work day and night just to avoid bankruptcy.

Yet others, including junior doctors, go in strike to try to improve their employment conditions and financial situation, though I am old-fashioned enough to believe that medicine should be a vocation and not just a way of getting rich.

In my travels in the developing world of Africa, Asia and Latin-America, I have met many people who were poor in material terms, but they were also rich human beings in the way that they cared for each other, and made the best of what little they had.

So congratulations to Claudio Ranieri and his team who won arguably the world's most competitive football league on a financial shoestring, and also to Bishop Libby Lane who puts money in perspective.

Asked what she learned most about money she replied: "Money does not equate to value, and people must never be valued by their income or net worth."

Well said.

Belfast Telegraph


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